At just 5-foot-5 and 130 pounds, most wouldn’t expect Nate Harris-Norton to be much of an impact player.
But when the pads are on and his chin strap is buckled, the Lindenwold High School junior is just that.
“It’s the heart,” coach James McGuirl said. “He’s one of the smallest kids on the team, but when he’s on defense he’s just insane. He wants to make every tackle. As soon as he sees the ball, he’s off.”
A linebacker, Harris-Norton leads the Lions with 25 tackles (19 solos) and four tackles for loss. He also has a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.
He led the team last season with 109 tackles.
“He just has this one-on-one competitiveness about him,” the coach added. “He’s aggressive, a momentum changer.
“In our first game (against Haddon Township) we started slow and were losing. He made a couple of nice plays on defense and got everybody going. He’s an energetic kid who takes on a whole different persona when he’s on the field. He’s the center of our defense and everyone just rallies around him.”
Harris-Norton had 15 tackles in the season-opening win over Haddon Township.
“He was a captain as a sophomore because of the way the kids rallied around him,” McGuirl said. “He’s definitely a team leader and we expect him to continue with that leadership.”
- Chambers out: According to Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, paperwork was filed and sent to the NJSIAA on Monday following the ejection of standout wide receiver Cameron Chambers in the closing seconds of Friday’s game against Cherokee.
A Michigan State recruit, Chambers was ejected for what officials termed “throwing a punch.” There is no appeals process under NJSIAA rules.
“Obviously we’re disappointed, but we look at it as a way for some other guys and some of our younger guys to get an opportunity to step up as we move forward this season,” Hinson said. “We’re not looking at it as one game. We look at it as getting some depth as we move toward a Group 4 championship.”
- Strong start: Pemberton is 2-0 for the first time since 2011. The Hornets own wins over Bordentown and Florence.
“We’re basically the same team as last year but now they have a year of experience, especially the quarterback,” coach John Rosnick said. “He puts the ball close and our receivers just go and get it.”
A junior, Joe Benson has completed 25-of-44 passes for 489 yards and six touchdowns. The Hornets have also been getting it done on the ground, with senior King Robert Forchion picking up 192 yards and two TDs.
“The guys worked hard the last couple of years and took their lumps,” Rosnick said. “Now they’re playing with confidence.”
- Settling in: After a handful of scrimmages and two regular-season games, it looks like Rich Stanzione is getting more and more comfortable as Williamstown’s quarterback.
In last week’s overtime win against Kingsway, the transfer from Washington Township rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries and scored both of the Braves’ touchdowns. He leads the team in rushing with 252 yards and three TDs on 38 carries.
“He makes our backfield so much stronger because we have a quarterback who can run and throw,” coach Frank Fucetola said. “He lives for what he’s doing.
“He loves the sport and just wants to win. He’s a very good athlete and plays with a passion.”
- End of skid: After losing its final nine games last season and this year’s opener, Moorestown put its skid to rest with a 24-20 victory over Burlington Township.
Austin Martin scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard pass from Mike DiMarino. Ryan Loftus added the PAT for the final margin.
“Our kids were very excited,” coach Beau Sherry said. “It was great to come out of a close game with a win after so many close loses. Our kids deserved to win.”
- In the hunt: Looking to challenge for the Cape-Atlantic American title, Egg Harbor Township is off and running. The Eagles are 2-0 after wins over Atlantic City and Lower Cape May. They travel to Vineland on Friday.
“We have a hard working group that has committed to our larger goals,” coach Kevin Stetser said. “They represent themselves, their families, their school and community well. We feel as though if we continue to improve from week to week that we can be a contender for the conference and Group 5 titles. We still have a ways to go, but we are moving in the right direction.”
Led by senior Dante Moore, EHT is averaging over 300 rushing yards per game. Moore has 372 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. Connor Agostino has 143 yards and two TDs on 21 touches.
Directing the offense, senior quarterback David Rice has completed 15-of-26 passes for 265 yards and five scores. Spencer LaSure has five catches for 93 yards and two TDs.
The Eagles have also given up just two defensive touchdowns.
- Extra points: Going back to last season, Lenape has won 11 of its last 12 games and held opponents to single-digit scoring eight times. The Indians have outscored opponents 55-7 this season.
According to South Jersey sports historian Chuck Langerman, no quarterback playing for a Gloucester County school has ever thrown for 2,000 yards in a single season. Washington Township graduate Nick Valori set the county record in 2009 with 1,954 yards.
Senior running back Terrence Smith is 33 yards shy of becoming Oakcrest’s all-time rushing leader. James Jenkins set the school record of 1,965 yards in 1994.
West Deptford has scored at least 60 points in one or more games in each of the last seven seasons. Week 2 has been especially big, with the Eagles reaching the mark in the last three straight years.
A.J. Russo picked up his first victory at Holy Spirit as the Spartans scored the final 10 points of the game to beat Bridgeton.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com